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NGO glamour

During the last couple of months I’ve been privileged to see some of the most beautiful locations of this planet. They happened to be some of the poorest as well.

I’ve also noticed how much of a difference a small contribution can make. A couple of local language books, for example. This can help a whole generation of kids to master their language better, an essential skill that no child should be deprived off.

I’ve then got difficulties containing my anger when I see the NGO (Non Governmental Organizations) driving around in top end 4 wheel drive cars. The cost of one of these is more than the cost of the books for hundreds of libraries.

I’ve heard all the counterarguments before: 
– The accident rate on the roads is very high. We need good quality cars to protect our staff.
And crush the locals because you drive twice as fast?

– We got a great deal with Toyota on these Landcruisers
Only on the 4 liter deluxe version and not on the ‘basic’ 3 liter version?

– I work on a research project. I’m not doing any of the practical stuff like helping children read.
If you’re sitting behind a desk all day, why does each of you need a four wheel drive?

I’ve seen a lot of villages and I specifically look for the poor ones. Where are you non-profit people? Why don’t I see you in the fields observing local work practices and enhancing them? Train people directly or train trainers? If I only think of all the billions a small country like The Netherlands spends and how much of lasting difference a ‘drop in the ocean’ would make for a country like Laos.

It makes me sick.

P.s. My apologies to all the hard working and committed NGO people who have a more ethical approach: this message is not for you

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